Yakari #1 (1977)
|Publisher||Le Lombard (French)
|Number of issues||38 (in French)
12 (in English)
|Writer(s)||Job (André Jobin)|
|Artist(s)||Derib (Claude de Ribaupierre)|
|Creator(s)||Derib & Job|
Yakari is a young Sioux Native American who has the particularity to be able to understand and speak animal languages. During his adventures, he meets all sorts of North American animals. His best friends are a girl Sioux, "Rainbow", and his pony "Little Thunder". He has a totem animal, "Great Eagle", who frequently appears to him to give him critical advice.
The setting is the North American Great Plains, mainly. Horses have already been introduced by the Spanish, but there is no mentioning of white man whatsoever in the series. (In one book, there's even a mention by an old tribesman that there's a mystery how the horse came to the land, and that it hasn't always been there.) It can therefore be assumed that Yakari's adventures take place after the 15th century, but long before the settling rush in the late 18th/19th century.
The comic shows a very positive view of the culture of the Sioux and depicts them as peaceful people who live in harmony with nature.
(English names; original French names in brackets when available) Humans:
- Yakari is the main character. He is a little Sioux boy and has the ability to talk with animals; this gift was given by Great Eagle, Yakari's totem. Unlike the other young boys, Yakari rejects the use of weapons; he seems to be the only Sioux boy who does not carry a knife or bow and arrow. Yakari is also the only Sioux in the comic whose name does not mean anything further (like "Little Big-Shot").
- Rainbow (Arc-en-Ciel) : a Sioux girl and Yakari's best friend. She knows of and genuinely admires his special ability, and often accompanies him on his adventures, and learns the ways of healing from Yakari's mother
- The-One Who Knows (Celui-qui-sait) : chief and shaman of Yakari's village, and one of the first persons to understand that Yakari has a rare gift. He is the oldest and wisest man in the village. In the cartoon, he is known as Wise One.
- Little Big-Shot In the cartoon, he is called Buffalo Seed (Graine-de-Bison) : a Sioux boy, rivaling friend of Yakari's, who dreams of becoming the greatest hunter. Little Big-Shot is more aggressive than Yakari, and shows an interest in martial sports (wrestling and bowshooting). He often wears only a loincloth and despite his age, is possibly the best bowman in Yakari's village.
- Slow Motion : a man from Yakari's village. As his name points out, he is very slow. In the cartoon, he is called Slow Strider.
- No-Wai-Waiki (Great-Heap-Big-Pile-Plenty-Lazy-Bones): a man from Yakari's village. He is extremely lazy and unfit, and spends the day lying in front of his tipi and smoking his pipe. In the cartoon, he is called Eyes-Always-Shut, because every time he is seen he is taking a nap, and often someone steps on his belly.
- Tranquil Rock (Roc-Tranquille): a sage from Yakari's village.
- Bold Gaze (Regard-Droit): Yakari's father. At first quite skeptical about his son's claims that he can talk to animals, he is eventually convinced that his son does indeed have a special gift.
- Braid Night : Yakari's mother, who is skilled in healing lore. In the cartoon she is called Midnight Braids.
- Strained Bow (Arc-tendu): a cruel and arrogant warrior who is obsessed with hunting and bringing down the rarest and most unusual of animals. He has clashed with Yakari on several occasions and considers him to be his most personal enemy. In the cartoon, he is called Quick Bow.
- Moon-spirit, a crone who heals animals
Mounts and wild animals:
- Little Thunder (Petit Tonnere) : a white-and-black checkered Pinto pony stallion, who is Yakari's steed and closest friend. He refuses to wear a saddle or reins, so Yakari rides him bareback
- Double Teeth : a beaver and artist.
- Tilia : a young beaver, practical joker and adventurer.
- Wild Rose Plant : a beaver, and Tilia's mother.
- Rough Bark : a beaver, and Tilia's father.
- Thousand Mouths : a beaver and builder.
- Wood of a Bed : a beaver and a serious sleeper.
- The Grizzly: originally a savage rogue bear who terrorized the animals of the Great Plains, he has since learned humility and is now one of Yakari's friends.
- Snowball, a young white bear who has suffered the stigma of being different until he makes a friend in Yakari. He has twice been targeted by Quick Bow, who collects the furs of white animals, and saved by Yakari both times
- Great Eagle (Grand-Aigle): a great bald eagle and Yakari's totem who aids Yakari with his wisdom and advice, and is the one who gave Yakari the gift of talking to animals
- Nanabozo : a rabbit capable of doing magical feats, and Rainbow's totem. He has revealed himself to Rainbow and Yakari on numerous occasions and taken them on educative journeys, including a trip into prehistoric times.
The books have been translated into at least 17 languages including English, Portuguese, German, Scandinavian languages, Finnish, Breton, Indonesian, Polish, Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, Inuktitut and Catalan etc.
Original French versions
Only the original French language publication is indicated.
- Yakari (Dargaud, 1973)
- Yakari et le bison blanc (Casterman, 1976)
- Chez les Castors (Casterman, 1977)
- Yakari et Nanabozo (Casterman, 1978)
- Yakari et le grizzly (Casterman, 1979)
- Le secret de petit tonnerre (Casterman, 1981)
- L'étranger (Casterman, 1982)
- Au pays des loups (Casterman, 1983)
- Les Prisonniers de l'Ile (Casterman, 1983)
- Le grand terrier (Casterman, 1984)
- La toison blanche (Casterman, 1985)
- Yakari et le coyote (Casterman, 1986)
- Yakari et les seigneurs des plaines (Casterman, 1987)
- Le vol des corbeaux (Casterman, 1988)
- La rivière de l'oubli (Casterman, 1989)
- Le premier galop (Casterman, 1990)
- Le monstre du lac (Casterman, 1991)
- L'oiseau de neige (Casterman, 1992)
- la barrière de feu (Casterman, 1993)
- Le diable des bois (Casterman, 1994)
- Le souffleur de nuages (Casterman, 1995)
- La fureur du ciel (Casterman, 1996)
- Yakari et les cornes fourchues (Casterman, 1997)
- Yakari et l'ours fantôme (Casterman, 1998)
- Le mystère de la falaise (Le Lombard, 1999)
- La vengeance du carcajou (Le Lombard, 2000)
- Yakari et longues-oreilles (Le Lombard, 2001)
- Le chêne qui parlait (Le Lombard, 2002)
- Le réveil du géant (Le Lombard, 2003)
- Le marcheur de nuit (Le Lombard, 2004)
- Yakari et les Appaloosas (Le Lombard, 2005)
- Les Griffes de l'Ours (Le Lombard, 2006)
- Le marais de la peur (Le Lombard, 2007)
- Le retour du lapin magicien (Le Lombard, 2008)
- L'escapade de l'ourson (Le Lombard, 2009)
- Le lézard de l'ombre (Le Lombard, 2011)
- Le mangeur d'étoiles (Le Lombard, 2012)
- Yakari et la tueuse des mers (Le Lombard, 2014)
Cinebook Ltd is the current publisher for the English version of the series.
- Yakari and Great Eagle, 2005, ISBN 1-905460-04-X
- Yakari and the White Buffalo, 2005, ISBN 1-905460-05-8
- Yakari and the Beavers, 2006, ISBN 1-905460-09-0
- Yakari and the Grizzly, 2006, ISBN 1-905460-16-3
- Yakari and the Stranger, 2007, ISBN 978-1-905460-27-4
- Yakari in the Land of Wolves, 2008, ISBN 978-1-905460-29-8
- Yakari: The Island Prisoners, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84918-010-8
- Yakari and the White Fleece, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84918-055-9
- Yakari and the Coyote, 2011, ISBN 978-1-84918-101-3
- Yakari: The River of Forgetfulness, 2012, ISBN 978-1-84918-140-2
- Yakari and Nanabhozo, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84918-177-8
- Yakari: Little Thunder's Secret, 2014, ISBN 978-1-84918-223-2
Original stories involving original and additional characters were written for both television series.
The 2005 version (French Wikipedia), also in French, was a Franco-Belgian co-production made for France 3 and RTBF. An initial season of 52 episodes was followed by two more, 26 episodes each, and nine more episodes on DVD. A movie sequel is in the making.
- Sabine N. Meyer: Decentering Man's Place in the Universe: Yakari and Its Visual Representation of Native Americans